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Re: Lots of Questions About Tones

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Thursday, July 10, 2008, 7:45
John Vertical wrote:
> On Thu, 10 Jul 2008 01:53:45 -0400, ROGER MILLS wrote: >> Alex Fink wrote: >>> On Wed, 9 Jul 2008 23:46:09 +0100, David McCann wrote: >>> >>>> Imagine a language with /bas/ and /bat/. If the contrast between /p/ >>>> and /b/ is lost, /ba-/ is likely to acquire a high or rising tone in >>>> becoming /pa-/. >>> _High_ or rising? AIUI voiced stops in the onset are supposed to have a >>> lowering effect, generally I believe because of (possibly subphonemic) >>> breathiness, so they'd yield low (or rising?) tones. >>> >> That's my understanding too.......... So pa- < *ba- will have low tone, >> while pa- < *pa- will be high. > > I third this nagging suspicion.
Indeed; and in the other direction, I was of the impression that coda /-t/ would be more likely to give a high or rising tone, at least if the coda /t/ is glottalised as in English.
> I've also seen the claim that no language ever originally *develop'd* tone from > initial consonants; that their effect is much subtler than that of codas, and so > a split thus conditioned may only occur in a language that's tonal to begin with. > > Tone developing from pitch accent is also a pathway to remember. And then > there's the fact that a tone system may change without external motivation > ("drift"), especially once there's any sort of a countour contrast in place. BTW, > I'm under the impression that "glide" tones are included under contour tones, > as long as the "glideness" is phonemic. Er, tonemic.
I'm not sure I understand what "'glide' tones" are, if not contour tones.
> Personally tho, I would be much more interested in what *effects* tones may > have. Stress can trigger all kinds of things, but tone? And I mean level / > countour tone, not "register tone" (creaky / clear / brethy / etc). Can it > trigger even vowel quality changes, or is it a dead-end feature that just won't > affect anything else?
Well, level/contour tones can develop into register tones (e.g. a low tone may become creaky voice). These register tones can then lead to things of their own. Stress, however, is I think a poor analogy for tones; a better one would be length. Length and tone can both indicate stress, but they can both be phonemic features on their own. (Also, I think you're spelling "contour" wrong. The first syllable is the same as "conflict" (n), so with your reformed spelling I can't make sense of "countour", and not the standard spelling I know. Perhaps, however, I'm missing something.) -- Tristan.